Maarten Vanermen
Tracking loop

One of the most interesting aspects of Maarten Vanermen’s work is the way the artist approaches light. Whereas traditionally light is mostly seen from a metaphysical perspective, as a phenomenon closely related to abstract notions of nature, cosmos and creation, here the focus is merely on its palpable, physical appearance. The extent to which the latter is suggestive of ideas is left to the imagination of the viewer.
As is evident in the two installations of Maarten Vanermen in the collection of Art21, fluorescent tubes are the artist’s favorite material. Especially the older types, tubes that start up slowly, showing the entire process of sparkling, igniting and discharging. Tubes that bring forth light that, with its constant flickering, creates an image of a vital but also vulnerable and ephemeral existence. Who would ever have expected a cool and purely technical object such as a fluorescent tube to act as a living entity, capable of provoking romantic feelings?
Equally fascinating is the way the artist uses computer technology. The fact alone that in his work digital processing is a prerequisite for getting closer to the heart of the matter is a meaningful factor. While denying and reversing the normal order – digitalization as a process of detachement -, it subtlety suggests the possibility of a new alliance. Moreover, in its abstract and immaterial quality the algorithm that the artist employs for the translation of the constantly fluctuating tube light into a new visual shape, serves as an adequate substitute for the good old light in traditional art.
Maarten Vanermen’s work is romantic in a personal and very acute way, insisting on the possibility of transcendence and at the same time staying as close as possible to the profane mechanismes of our high tech world. The same goes for the randomly generated imagery that his installations bring forth. Being as intriguing as inimitable, it resists any concrete reading, but is nevertheless open to any idea, notion or feeling the viewer projects upon it.

Other works from this artist: